Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Tuva Can Become the Next IT Asian Tiger, Writer Argues

Paul Goble     

            Staunton, January 22 – Exporting natural resources will never provide enough jobs for Tuvins and no outsider will ever provide sufficient aid to allow Tuvins to have the future they deserve, according to a Tuvin writer. And consequently, the residents of that landlocked republic proud of being “in the center of Asia” must become an IT power like other small Asian states.

            In an article in “Tuvinskaya Pravda” today, Boris Myshlyavtsev argues that in today’s interconnected world, the only “commodity” that is truly competitive is the intellect, something whose development “little depends on the attitude of the federal center [Moscow] with regard to Tuva” (www.tuvpravda.ru/2009-11-16-12-35-10/7173------300-000--.html).

          “Many countries,” he says, “which have much lower levels of education than Tuva” nonetheless have become “major suppliers of workers for the international intellectual market” and given that there are only about 300,000 Tuvins in the world, there is a place “for each” of them in that marketplace.

            Engagin in such work “does not require movement to another region.” But “even those who leave for a permanent place of residence in Russia or abroad will continue to work for the strengthening of the image of Tuvins as an intellectual people” and thus promote “the broadening of inter-regional and inter-national ties of Tuvins in the intellectual sphere.”

            Tuvin culture, Mushlyavtsev suggests, is fully capable of promoting the kind of values that will allow Tuvins to take part in the IT world.  The “main limiting factor,” he suggests, is likely to be “the lack of faith of the Tuvin people in the possibility of achieving such a bright future” for themselves and their offspring.

            What is needed to overcome that is “a vision” of what is possible, a vision like that offered by Martin Luther King in the United States and Lee Kwan Yu in Singapore, and one that reflects the past experience of the Tuvins in achieving what others thought impossible, such as the liquidation of illiteracy in the 1930s.

            To achieve this goal of a Tuva integrated into the IT world, the writer continues, it will be necessary not only to convince Tuvins that it is possible but to change the country’s system of education so that its products will be ready to participate in that world.  They need fluency in Russian and English, skills in mathematics, and mastery of computers and the Internet.

            “Plus,” he says, the younger generation of Tuvins need “a deep knowledge” of the history of their own people.

            Myshlyavtsev outlines a variety of specific steps he believes Tuva must take to achieve “a worthy future for Tuva and Tuvins,” but he acknowledges that many in that republic will have their own ideas and he invites them to take part in a public discussion of what looks very much like the rebirth of a genuine national movement in a way and a place few have thought possible.

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